BACOLOD CITY — The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) on Saturday said it is set to summon police officers who led supposed anti-criminality operations which left 14 farmers dead in Negros Oriental last week.
According to Leo Villarino, CHR-Central Visayas chief investigator, subpoenas will be issued against the team leaders of operations where 4 farmers across three towns were killed last Saturday.
The Negros Oriental police earlier said 8 were killed in Canlaon City, 4 in Manjuyod town, and 2 in Sta. Catalina town, while 12 others were arrested.
The CHR has launched a probe into the incident, focusing on whether search warrants were served to the individuals before they allegedly fought arrest.
The subpoenas, Villarino said, would give authorities the chance to dispute claims that police wore masks during the operations, and that farmers were executed.
"Ipapa-subpoena po natin sila (We will send them subpoenas), it will give them the opportunity to air their side as against the version ng pamilya," said Villarino.
Villarino said the CHR is still gathering testimonies and evidence related to the killings and gave no timeline on when results of its investigation may come out.
PNP chief Police General Oscar Albayalde on Tuesday sacked Negros Oriental's provincial police chief and 3 town police chiefs over the bloody police operations pending an internal investigation.
Malacañang has repeatedly defended the controversial police operations, saying they were legitimate and that rights groups were using the incident "to sow hate and spread fear towards our duly constituted authorities."